Veteran defensive lineman Red Bryant wasn’t hunting in the woods when the Arizona Cardinals called in the middle of the 2015 season.
The game of telephone captured in Episode 4 of the Amazon documentary series “All or Nothing” might have hinted at that assumption.
Bryant cleared that up but did confirm he was thinking about stepping away from the NFL when Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough gave him a ring the day before Thanksgiving 2015.
“It was going to be the first time in seven years me and my wife were going to spend Thanksgiving with my family,” Bryant told Burns and Gambo Friday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I wasn’t hunting, I was actually in the process of helping my mom get a vehicle. I was in a little town called Silsbee, Texas.
“I got a call, I was at the dealership, and they said they wanted to see what I had been doing,” he added. “I said I was really contemplating retiring and that I thought I was done. They asked me what my weight was: I said at the time was probably about 335, 330.”
In “All or Nothing,” a scene shows Cardinals general manager Steve Keim tell president Michael Bidwill his staff was looking into bringing Bryant in for a workout. McDonough later reminds Keim it’s the day before Thanksgiving.
“That’ll determine whether he really wants to play football,” Keim tells McDonough.
Twenty minutes later, McDonough returns to tell Keim that Bryant has one change of clothes but is driving to an airport for a workout early Thanksgiving morning.
“That’s awesome. I mean this is freakin’ Thanksgiving,” Bidwill says.
Adds McDonough: “He said, ‘I don’t need the money, I want to play because it’s the Cardinals.’ I thought that was pretty good.”
Turns out Bryant was actually close not to taking the flight.
The Cardinals can thank Bryant’s wife for pushing him to jump on the plane.
“I kind of hesitated because I was like, I didn’t want to come and then not be prepared for the opportunity,” Bryant told Burns and Gambo. “That’s the worst thing you could do. My wife was like, ‘Babe … I really think you should go.’ I just feel like Coach Arians by giving me that opportunity when I thought I was done with football, I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for the opportunity.”
The 32-year-old Bryant is still with the Cardinals, busy making violent hits — in coverage, even — during training camp.